LIV­ING

THE CLAS­SIC RUM­PUS ROOM FROM SUB­UR­BAN YES­TER­YEAR IS HAV­ING A MOD­ERN RE­VIVAL

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents - by Neale Whi­taker

The clas­sic rum­pus room is mak­ing a come­back, says Neale Whi­taker.

An early mem­ory of my English child­hood is the grand­sound­ing log­gia (mis­pro­nounced like log with a hard “g”), a chilly play­room that was nei­ther prop­erly in­door nor out­door, bolted on to the back of our sub­ur­ban bun­ga­low. I was far too young to know that the Ital­ian word re­quired a soft “g” and that my play­ground, with glass win­dows run­ning its full length and doors open­ing to the gar­den, was in fact lit­tle more than a glo­ri­fied green­house. Although I was prob­a­bly no more than three or four years old at the time, I can still hear the rain lash­ing the glass as I pa­trolled my world on a sturdy tri­cy­cle.

Our log­gia’s Aus­tralian cousin was the less pre­ten­tious-sound­ing rum­pus room. As Aussie as the bar­bie, this do­mes­tic phe­nom­e­non was the place where the kids – and maybe grown-ups, too – could kick up a rum­pus (it could have as eas­ily been the ruckus room) and it wouldn’t mat­ter. Thread­bare car­pet? Clapped-out so­fas? That cof­fee table cov­ered in un­sightly rings? Yep, the rum­pus room would have ’em.

And then rum­pus rooms seemed to van­ish, doubt­less re­pur­posed as home the­atres, but­ler’s pantries, walk-in wardrobes, wine cel­lars, yoga rooms or any of the box tick­ers of early 21stcen­tury real es­tate. But I’m notic­ing a rum­pus re­vival, maybe as an an­ti­dote to all those task-spe­cific spa­ces I’ve just men­tioned. One such rum­pus room was be­ing given a pris­tine (and oddly ster­ile – wear and tear is in the rum­pus DNA),

Scandi-style makeover re­cently on a TV home show, while I was of­fered one for ren­o­va­tion on a forth­com­ing episode of Love It Or List It Aus­tralia.

Not, I has­ten to add, to be trans­formed for some higher pur­pose, but re­stored to full-blown rum­pus sta­tus. Co­me­dian, au­thor and de­sign en­thu­si­ast Tim Ross named his most re­cent book The Rum­pus Room: And Other

Sto­ries From The Sub­urbs (tim­ross.com.au, $35.95). In the col­lec­tion of “sto­ries that cap­ture a sense of how we live… ex­pe­ri­ences we share as Aus­tralians”, Ross writes, “The rum­pus room can be de­scribed in two ways: the one you had and the one you wished you had. In the golden years of ab­sent par­ent­ing they ruled supreme… the great rum­pus rooms had ei­ther a ping-pong table or a pool table. We had nei­ther.”

I guess Minecraft might be the new ping-pong, but I bet there’s one com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor shared by my ’60s log­gia, Tim Ross’s ’80s rum­pus room and its con­tem­po­rary coun­ter­part. Lego. Neale Whi­taker is ed­i­tor-at-large of Vogue Liv­ing.

CRE­AT­ING A RUM­PUS (clock­wise

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